Today our guide gave us a little insight into the wedding procedures of the Turkish people. She said that even though many young couples are now living together (not that their parents are happy about it) when it comes to getting married it happens the same way – whether you are religious or not, conservative or progressive, from the country or city.
Though there are no arranged marriages these days, the parents often do ‘suggest’ a match though the young adults can say no. If a couple get together themselves then they don’t introduce their partner to their parents until they are considering marriage. I found this particularly ‘funny’ in that many couples are not choosing to get married for 10 years or so of living together – not sure how you can keep your partners existence from your parents for that long!! I think it has more to do with the older generation accepting where the young people are at today.
Anyway if they decide to get married, then it is a big day when everyone meets the potential inlaws. The grooms family is expected to bring gifts – chocolate and/or flowers. The bride is expected to show her gifts / skills in cooking, crocheting and carpet making. Every Turkish girl can do these things – especially in the rural areas. After the chit chat is over the girl leaves the room and leaves her oldest male relative to talk with the grooms family. He then comes out to ask the girl if she is happy and then goes back into the room to confirm that yes the marriage will go ahead. The girl comes back into the room, greets everyone with a kiss and then serves coffee to everyone.
But there is a catch – the coffee she serves her intended – the last person she serves is to be as disgusting as she can make it. She adds salt, lemon juice and anything else she can find in the kitchen into his coffee and then serves him. Everyone knows it is disgusting but no one says a word. It is like a test for the groom. If he drinks it all he will be a good, patient husband and the marriage will be a good one. If though he stops and cannot drink it then the quality of the marriage is estimated based on how much he managed to swallow. Our driver tells us that he managed to drink all his coffee!!
At this stage the couple are deemed engaged. Their engagement period lasts for as long as they need to get married. Even if they are religious their marriage ceremony needs to be civil for it to be legal. They can have an Imran do a 10min ceremony quoting the Koran and then the mayor does the proper ceremony.
Turkish brides wear white – and most these days are western wedding dresses. The only difference would be a red ribbon around her waist indicating her purity. Most wedding parties start around 7.00pm and last for a few hours. Wedding gifts are money – and you are photographed giving because what you give will be given to you at either your wedding or next special event! So much for giving from the heart!!